Is Ethylene Interpolymer Alloy (EIA) the Right Coated Fabric For My Product?

CoatingDec 20, 2022
ציפוי פולימרי לסירות הצלה

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Selecting the right material is one of the toughest jobs in the coated thermoplastics industry. The capabilities and longevity of your product depend directly on the physical and chemical properties of the material you choose. The processing and manufacturing method is also quite important, but still, the importance of the right material can’t be denied as everything else is contingent on it. 

Flexible EIA (Ethylene Interpolymer Alloy) is among the most viable material choices for technical textile products. The material has the right combination of physical and chemical properties that allow it to perform in all conditions for a large variety of applications. 

This article covers EIA and what are the qualities that make it so great? Read on to learn more!

EIA Explained

Ethylene Interpolymer Alloy or EIA is a copolymer of ethylene and vinyl acetate that is both flexible and elastic. The material behaves like thermoplastics and has numerous physical qualities like low-temperature toughness, UV resistance, chemical compatibility, and crack resistance. Read about the benefits of using EIA based on application here.

The weight percentage of vinyl acetate and ethylene determines the overall physical properties of the resulting EIA material with vinyl acetate varying from 10% to 40%. The higher the percentage of VA is, the more rubber-like the resulting copolymer will be, which has a direct impact on the industrial application of the product.

There are 3 types of EIA copolymers:

  • Low Proportion VA: Generally non-toxic with an average of 4% VA by weight. It requires the same process as thermoplastic material and has the same process as low-density polyethylene. 
  • Medium Proportion VA: The VA percentage varies from 4% to 30%, which gives it the same properties as rubber and PVC. The material is quite tough and has ideal low-temperature properties, which makes it an excellent choice for a variety of materials. 
  • High Proportion VA: This EIA copolymer has a 40% proportion of VA, which allows it to have the same properties as a rubber. The EIA copolymer is referred to as ethylene-vinyl acetate rubber and has numerous applications in the prosthetic market. 

Ethylene Interpolymer Alloy Performance Strengths

EIA is said to be a step up from polyethylene because of its increased strength, tear resistance, and other properties. Here are some of the main properties that are primarily responsible for EIA’s versatility and longevity.

1 – Temperature Resistance

Outdoor applications usually have a lot of requirements, especially because of exposure to environmental elements and UV radiation. The temperature generally has a lot of effect on the overall physical properties of thermoplastic products. Consistent exposure to high temperatures can cause softening and deterioration of the product’s shape. Similarly, low temperature can cause the product to harden and lose its elasticity, which can affect the impact strength. 

Fortunately, EIA comes free from such issues because of its temperature-resistant properties. The material remains unaffected by the changes in temperature, especially in cases of lower temperature. EIA doesn’t lose its physical properties even after exposure to the cold and continues to perform with consistency. Thereby making it a perfect material for outdoor applications. 

2 – Chemical Stability

A lot of applications demand relative chemical inertness from the raw material as well. Some of the most popular applications of coated textiles are marine and environmental control equipment. Moreover, many Flexitanks used to store agricultural chemicals, fuel or even drinking water also use technical textiles as their base material. 

All these cases require chemical stability under varying conditions. For instance, Flexitank storage being used for fuel or agricultural chemical demand the product to remain unaffected by the chemical inside in all conditions. Even for drinking water, it’s extremely important to ensure that the storage tank itself doesn’t release any toxins or other harmful elements into the water. 

3 – Abrasion Resistance

Another common requirement from all coated fabrics that make up the building block of marine safety and boating equipment is puncture resistance. The marine environment is full of debris and elements that cause punctures and abrasions. The surface coat must be free from all kinds of abrasions for longevity and proper performance.

EIA naturally resists all kinds of punctures and damages which are ideal for all kinds of applications that demand abrasion resistance. The material is tough and flexible enough to resist all kinds of damage, which makes it an excellent choice for a variety of applications.   

4 – UV Resistance

Apart from temperature resistance, UV compatibility is another demand for outdoor applications. UV radiations from the sun can deteriorate technical textiles and make them react with environmental elements. EIA comes with the natural ability to resist any changes even under constant exposure to UV radiation. This natural resistance makes many outdoor applications possible, which is precisely what’s required for longevity and performance.  

ERcoat: Erez’s Answer to the Rising EIA Demand

Erez is a global player that remains at the forefront of the technical textiles industry with its focus on innovation and sustainability. Today, Erez has perfected that textile coating process to deliver materials with better mechanical, thermal, and chemical properties to ensure both performance and longevity. 

The technical fabric industry demands materials that check all the boxes when it comes to performance and sustainably. Fortunately, it’s possible with the modern technology that Erez uses in its EIA- based range called ERcoatTM. With a lot of options available in mid-range fabric weights, Erez can be a one-stop shop to fulfill all your EIA-based product requirements. 

Apart from that, Erez also has a large variety of other technical textiles available. With global experience in delivering quality products for multiple decades, Erez can quickly give you the best solution for your needs with the right balance of cost, quality, and functionality.  

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